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Beyond the Glass: helping the industry to learn more about beer

We are pleased to announce a new event designed for the beer industry called Beyond the Glass, a free workshop to improve the level of beer knowledge in the state.

Some people were left scratching their heads when we became allied members of the Maine Restaurant Association.

Clearly, we are a tour operator…not a restaurant.

But actually we had a very good reason for doing that, and we announced it today at the Maine Hospitality Summit in Kennebunkport.

We have created a new event that is designed to educate and promote the craft beer industry as a whole while focusing many aspects on what is happening here in Maine.

But first, some background.

We share a goal with the Maine Brewers’ Guild to make Maine the premier destination in the world for craft beer.

Data tells us a lot about the guests that are coming into the state, and that they are often looking to enjoy the well-crafted beer that is made in the Pine Tree State.

When those guests stay in our hotels and inns, dine in our restaurants, visit the bars and lounges, and stop by brewery tasting rooms we want them to have an amazing and memorable experience centered around the beer.

So we had an idea: what if we took the combined knowledge of our team and presented key information about beer back to educate bartenders, restaurant servers, tasting room staff, and hotel staff?

The event is called Beyond the Glass and is designed as an industry training event targeted at anyone working in customer-facing craft beer sales and service capacity.

It is intended to act as a hands-on group learning experience that aims to equip each attendee with new skills or knowledge that will add value to their skill set as an individual working in and advocating for craft beer.

We are hosting the event at the historic U.S. Custom House on a Monday night in November (right after Portland Beer Week), and we are making it free of charge. We have enlisted the support of the Maine Brewers’ Guild and the Portland Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild to help with this educational offering.

It is not open to the general public, all attendees must be working in the hospitality industry and have an interest in spending a couple of hours to learn more about beer.

There are 4 areas of focus Beyond the Glass is designed to address: Beer 101, Serving & Storage, Conducting Sensory, and Food Pairings.

Each area of focus will be assigned a station, complete with a presenter that has a degree of expertise in the topic. We have hand-selected our lineup of presenters due to their beer-knowledge accreditation, experience, or industry impact. All of the folks presenting will have a level of certification in the Cicerone program, including Certified Cicerones and Advanced Cicerones.

We are super excited about this event, and also in the various other tools we have to help our industry improve their collective beer education.

Maine is home to some of the most exceptional and diverse beer offerings found anywhere in the world. Our reputation as a craft beer destination has attracted millions of beer fans from all over the world to our beautiful state.

We may be categorized as a “tour company”, but we believe ourselves to be advocates for the industry as a whole.

This is one small step towards solidifying Maine’s reputation in the craft beer world.

Because the story of beer in Maine goes well Beyond the Glass.

Are you in the hospitality industry and interested in attending our first Beyond the Glass event? [Register Here]

Don Littlefield is the General Manager of The Maine Brew Bus in Portland and the Boston-based Mass Brew Bus. He enjoyed several cups of coffee while preparing this post. Twitter: @BeerinME